If Cam Newton wanted to have a quiet offseason, he’s not succeeding.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback has caused quite a social-media stir. He was photographed all over Paris at Men’s Fashion Week, then was caught on video making a $1,500 offer to switch seats on the flight home (and denied).
The latter in particular drew attention -- 4.5 million views on the video posted to Eli Edwards’ Twitter account as of Wednesday morning.
“Man, I don’t know," Edwards told ESPN.com. “I’m not big on Twitter. I just posted the video on Twitter because I didn’t get the response on Instagram I expected. The Twitter one went viral."
Edwards, 28, was headed home after proposing to his girlfriend at the Women’s World Cup. Newton was headed back to Charlotte to attend his annual 7-on-7 high school football tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Edwards, a former Colorado State defensive end, initially ran into the former Auburn star at the ticket counter and recognized him.
When Newton missed his initial flight, as Edwards later discovered, the 2015 NFL MVP had to fly home in economy with a connection through Dallas. The 10-hour flight is tough enough on an average-sized person, but when you’re 6-foot-5, leg room is key.
So Newton offered $1,500 to a passenger in what appeared to be an exit-row seat.
And was turned down.
Twice. The first offer was for $1,000.
Edwards initially thought it was joke that Newton was flying in economy. He’s almost positive the passenger who turned down the offer didn’t have a clue who Newton was.
“No one did, honestly," Edwards said. “I felt no one knew the situation except me."
The video got arguably as much or more attention as when Newton, coming off his second offseason shoulder surgery in three offseasons, threw for the first time in practice during a three-day minicamp on June 11-13.
For comparison, Edwards said his proposal video that was posted internationally got only about 7,000 views.
Newton, known for his big smile, gave a sheepish grin after being denied and walked to his seat. He suffered through the flight and made it back in time for his tournament.
“To me, it didn’t look like he was mad," Edwards said of Newton. “It looked like he slept about seven hours, so he couldn’t have been that uncomfortable."
Meanwhile, social media was abuzz wanting to know everything from why the passenger turned down the money to why Newton was in economy.
“The guy asked Cam how tall he was," Edwards said. “Cam said he was 6-6. The guy said he was 6-4. He was with the three other gentlemen. It was like asking a couple to move because they were all together."
Newton also caused a stir with his unusual style in Paris.
Newton considers himself the “King of Swag,’’ at least in the NFL, for his fashion exploits, which range from signature designer hats, to loafers and no socks, to outlandish color combinations. The first pick of the 2011 draft was among a star-studded cast of athletes in Paris that included NBA star Russell Westbrook and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Here Newton is with Westbrook:
In an interview with ESPN.com in May, Newton mentioned Kelce as one of the few NFL players who might challenge him in style.
“Man, it’s a lot of [NFL] guys who take fashion extremely serious," he said. “They dare to be different. Travis Kelce is one of them. Odell [Beckham] easily one of them. How can you forget about Antonio Brown?"
However, Newton owns bragging rights for the past two weeks thanks to an unusual encounter captured by Edwards.
“I feel like he was trying to be incognito," Edwards said of Newton. “But with Cam’s appearance, you can spot him right away."